Wednesday, 20 July 2016

This year, Peace Hospice Care's 5 mile muddy challenge is back for the 5th year running! The run will take place on the 24th September in Chiswell Green, St Albans, featuring over 30 obstacles.

This year Mary Anne Petrie, from Watford, will be taking on the challenge to raise money for the Hospice, who cared for her mum, Eileen.

Mary Anne said:"In 2012 my Mum was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer and underwent chemo and radiotherapy. Unfortunately she then suffered a stroke, so life was pretty tough.

"By November 2013 Mum was unable to swallow even a glass of water and was struggling to breathe. I used to stay up with Mum all night to look after her. Over the previous few months I had felt less like a daughter and more of an advocate fighting to get Mum the right care. I was scared and exhausted.

"Our GP was brilliant; he could see how desperate we were. He suggested that Mum should get some respite care in Peace Hospice Care. He felt the doctors would be better placed to advise us on managing Mum's medication.

"A lovely nurse from Peace Hospice Care's Hospice at Home service came to visit us at home to assess Mum's needs. She was amazing; she was able to relieve some of Mum's pain and more than that was able to reassure me that I was doing things right.

"Soon after, a bed in the Hospice's Inpatient Unit became available for Mum. From the minute we came through the doors at Peace Hospice Care, both Mum and I felt like we had arrived in paradise. For the first time in months the doctor was telling me about Mum's health and what was to be done, rather the other way round; I knew Mum was in good hands. Not only that, I was given a duvet and told to have a rest in the chair next to Mum. I was being looked after too!

"For the 10 days Mum stayed in the Inpatient Unit at Peace Hospice Care, I never ceased to be amazed by the love and care shown to Mum, my sister and I. Mum's health deteriorated very dramatically and we knew the end was in sight. My husband, Ian, and two sons, Aidan and Euan, came in to say goodbye which was very difficult but made easier by the lovely staff.

"My sister, Sarah, and I sat through the day by Mum's bed knowing it would not be long. We gave no thought at this point to food, but toasties were brought to us to keep us going. Sarah and I were allowed to stay overnight so we were close when the time came. Mum died peacefully with Sarah and I by her side at 1am on the 13th December 2013.

"I cannot praise the staff enough. After what had been a horrific few months the Hospice gave Mum peace and pain free care, she loved it there and it allowed me to be a daughter again and gave me peace and reassurance that we were doing the best we could.

"Since Mum died I have been involved in a few fundraising events and we donated much of the contents of Mum's house to the Hospice's charity shops but I really wanted to give something back myself. I hit the grand age of 50 in January and have set myself some challenges, including fitness and weight loss, so Push it for Peace seemed like the perfect event! I would really encourage people to get involved or sponsor someone who is taking part or even come along on the day to cheer people on - I know that I'm really going to need it!"

Last year, Peace Hospice Care supported 61 patients from St. Albans across their 12 bed Inpatient Unit, Starlight Centre and Hospice at Home services. Every year the Hospice needs £5 million to run and develop their services; however they only receive 23% of their funding for the NHS. All their specialist services are free for people and their families facing a life-limiting illness across the Hertfordshire community.

If you would like to join Mary Anne on the 24thSeptember visit the Hospice's event page or call 01923 335373 or email a member or their team at